Being an Adult

A friend made a comment about wishing she had majored at being an adult in college. I responded by saying we all should have done that. I feel that way so often. Looking at it from the inside out my life sometimes feels like it’s one wrong decision away from spinning out of control. I know objectively that’s probably not true but the feeling lingers even with that knowledge.

I’ve done things that would make it seems as though I was an adult. I’ve gotten married, divorced, bought a house, bought and sold vehicles, opened retirement accounts, etc. But those are all just things that happened. None of them gave the sense of having arrived at a point of maturity that I realized I had been looking for. I still don’t feel like an adult. I don’t even know what feeling like an adult is supposed to feel like either. When I was a child I had an unconscious sense that people older than me knew what they were doing and always made confident decisions. Now that I am in the position of outward adulthood I looked up to I rarely feel that same confidence I projected onto them. I used to think it was something about me that made me feel differently than people my age when I was younger. Now I know that there is no surety. There probably never will be.

Around the time I turned 30 there was a defined change in my feelings of confidence. That’s the only real milestone of adulthood that I can remember. I think that had more to do with the biochemical changes of getting older than any accomplishments or self-improvement work I had done. Now I am not significantly more confident about my choices, but I am more able to accept being unsure. I can handle the idea of making the less than ideal choice better than I could at any point previously in my life. And maybe that’s all that being an adult really is, getting comfortable with our limited knowledge and having to make decisions based on that imperfect knowledge.

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